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NBA Rumors: Steve Clifford’s 3rd Year Picked Up

Steve Clifford’s 3rd year option was picked up this summer… Carlos Boozer unhappy and more!

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Steve Clifford’s third year option picked up

Making the playoffs in his first year with the Charlotte Hornets automatically triggered a team option for the 2015-16 season in coach Steve Clifford’s contract, ESPN.com has learned.

League sources say Clifford’s original three-year, $6 million deal to coach Michael Jordan’s team now is a fully guaranteed three-year deal, thanks to the then-Bobcats’ surprising 43-39 mark last season, which was good for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The clause in Clifford’s contract that led to the 2015-16 option being picked up was never announced publicly — presumably because NBA teams generally don’t reveal such contract specifics — but sources say it was an automatic as soon as Charlotte qualified for the 2014 postseason.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

After such a surprisingly successful season last year, Clifford has earned himself a little bit more security than 20 games – even though these first 20 have gone terribly for his 5-15 Hornets. That makes it perfect timing for this news to break as it should help put doubt on the notion that Jordan and company would oust him or prevent any controversy over his pending free agency. As Stein went on to note, Houston’s Kevin McHale is the only coach playing without a contract in place for year next year, not that it seems to be slowing his team down at all.

Alex Kennedy went over some of the Hornets’ issues in yesterday’s PM, make sure to check it out for an in-depth look at the Hornets’ struggles and watch the video above.

As the Bobcats, Jordan became notorious for going through coaches almost like ball boys. This is the franchise’s 10th season since expansion, but Clifford is their fifth coach in that short span.

Carlos Boozer unhappy?

Veteran forward Carlos Boozer wasn’t happy with being benched in favor of forward Ed Davis, who started in Boozer’s place Sunday night during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 104-87 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

“Obviously it was a surprise,” Boozer said after practice Monday. “I didn’t expect that, but if helps our team win, I’m a team player.”

Boozer left without speaking to reporters Sunday night, but Lakers coach Byron Scott confirmed after the game that Boozer wasn’t pleased with the move. Scott said he made the lineup switch, which also included benching starter Jeremy Lin for Ronnie Price, to help improve the Lakers’ defensive intensity.

via Baxter Holmes of ESPN LA

The benching of Boozer and Lin obviously wasn’t the solution to the Lakers’ woes as they were still thoroughly thumped by the New Orleans Pelicans 104-87. However, it shouldn’t bother Boozer too bad because Scott is in a position where he would look content with losing if he didn’t shake things up a bit and try different combinations because what the Lakers have been doing so far isn’t working. Short of benching Kobe Bryant, all other options are probably being strongly considered right now by the Scott. At 5-16, he’s already in desperation mode, with only weeks left to save the season, if it isn’t lost already.

No fines coming for “I can’t breathe” shirts

via Twitter

These t-shirts, originally donned by Derrick Rose, became much more prevalent throughout the league on Monday night. They’re part of an ongoing protest against the murder of Eric Garner, who uttered those words as he was being choked to death by a New York police officer while being arrested for selling cigarettes individually.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out and said that he respected the players’ desire to take a stance on this issue, but wish that they would portray their message without violating the NBA’s on-court apparel policy. However, punishing the players would become a big story and more dominating headline than the players wearing them in the first place, so holding off on anything like that is the right move for the league.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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